Measures for betterment of vulnerable sections (DAMP)
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- Critically analyze the implementation challenges of the One Nation, One Ration Card (ONORC) scheme in India. What measures should be taken to address these challenges and ensure the effective functioning of ONORC?
- Highlight the impact of the decriminalization of homosexuality in India on the movement towards legalizing same-sex marriage. What are the legal and social challenges to legalizing same-sex marriage in India?
Q: Critically analyze the implementation challenges of the One Nation, One Ration Card (ONORC) scheme in India. What measures should be taken to address these challenges and ensure the effective functioning of ONORC? (15 Marks, 250 Words)
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ONORC is being implemented under NFSA, 2013. it allows beneficiary to buy subsidized food grains from any FPS shop in the country, by using the same ration card after biometric/Aadhar authentication on electronic Point of Sale (ePOS) devices.
How does ONORC work?
▫ Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) portal, provide the technical platform for the inter-state portability of ration cards.
▫ Biometric authentication on ePOS devices enable beneficiary to purchase the entitled food grains under the NFSA.
▫ Annavitran.nic.in hosts the data of distribution of foodgrains through E-PoS devices within a state.
- It allows availing of PDS benefit outside the district but within the home state.
▫ Standard Format of ration cards which ensures an unique ID of each customer.
▫ How much foodgrains cane be procured?
» Only the migrants’ entitlement, the rest of the grains would be procured by the family back home.
Advantages of One Ration Card:
- Right to Food: Enable migrant families to access PDS benefits from any Fair Price Shop in the country.
▫ End Discrimination and Improve the quality of service: It will shift the bargaining power from the PDS dealer to the PDS beneficiary. A beneficiary can choose the FPS shop which provides better service. It would also lead to FP providing better service earn more income.
▫ Aadhaar seeding would also weed out duplicate ration cards. Process of Universal seeding of ration cards
▫ It could be highly crucial for emergencies like the COVID-19 crisis.
Progress so far:
- The facility of national/inter-state portability is available in all states and UT’s.
▫ Seeding of ration cards with Aadhaar is going on.
▫ At present around 3 crore portable transactions are being recorded every month.
- Exclusion Errors:
- Aadhar seeding may lead to exclusion of most vulnerable groups/sections. There are any sections which don’t have Aadhar yet.
- Similarly, ensuring internet connections in remote areas, quick grievance redressal mechanism when E-POS system doesn’t identify biometrics or when it malfunctions may remain a challenge.
▫ State Specific Subsidies will be a challenge. For e.g., universal PDS in TN, extra subsidies in some states, more grains in some states.
▫ Food Grain availability at FPS will be a challenge. The FPS gets food grains based on its requirement. And in situations like short-term migration estimating demands may be a difficult task.
- Special focus on providing Aadhar and linking this Aadhar with most vulnerable groups
- Technology like data analytics can play a role in estimating the demand at FPS in different states in different months.
- In long run, PDS system should move to DBT to ensure that market is not distorted, and everyone is able to food as well.
ONORC has the potential to improve outcome specially for subaltern groups like migrants, socially weaker sections in rural areas etc. But the entire value chain of making the system work needs to be closely monitored and backed by infrastructure.
Q: Highlight the impact of the decriminalization of homosexuality in India on the movement towards legalizing same-sex marriage. What are the legal and social challenges to legalizing same-sex marriage in India? (15 Marks)
Introduction: Define same-sex marriage and its impact of decriminalization of homosexuality.
Body: Mention legal and social challenges to legalizing same sex marriage.
Conclusion: Mention the need for a balanced and nuanced approach that respects individual rights and societal values.
- Same-sex marriage refers to a legal union between two individuals of the same gender. In India, same-sex marriage is not legally recognized, and there have been several instances of legal disputes and battles over this issue.
- Delhi High Court in Naz Foundation v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi (2009) held that section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalized homosexual conduct, violated the fundamental rights of LGBTQ individuals under the Indian Constitution.
Impact of the decriminalization of homosexuality
- Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India: This landmark case challenged the constitutionality of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalized homosexuality.
- In September 2018, the Supreme Court of India ruled that Section 377 was unconstitutional, effectively decriminalizing homosexuality.
- Arif Jafar v. State of Uttar Pradesh: Arif Jafar, a gay rights activist, was arrested in 2001 under Section 377 for distributing condoms to men who have sex with men.
- He spent 49 days in prison and was subjected to torture and abuse by the police. After the decriminalization of homosexuality in 2018, Jafar spoke about the impact of the ruling on the LGBTQ community in India.
- Surya and Ishaan: In 2018, Surya and Ishaan, a gay couple from India, got married in a traditional Hindu ceremony in California. While their marriage was not recognized in India.
- Surya and Ishaan spoke about the impact of the decriminalization of homosexuality on their decision to get married, stating that the ruling had given them hope for the future and helped to create a more positive environment for LGBTQ people in India.
Legal and Social challenges to legalizing same sex marriage in India
- Legal framework: In 2019, a same-sex couple in Delhi approached the Delhi High Court seeking recognition of their marriage under the Special Marriage Act. The court dismissed their petition, stating that the act only recognized marriages between a man and a woman.
- Religious and cultural opposition: In 2018, the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), which represents India’s largest minority group, issued a statement opposing same-sex marriage, calling it “against the laws of nature.” Similarly, in 2020, the Kerala High Court dismissed a petition seeking recognition of same-sex marriage, citing opposition from religious and cultural groups.
- Public opinion: A 2019 survey found that while 55% of respondents in India supported decriminalization of homosexuality, only 22% supported same-sex marriage. This indicates a lack of public support for same-sex marriage in India. In 2020, a same-sex couple in Madhya Pradesh was denied marriage registration despite the decriminalization of homosexuality.
- Political will: In 2020, the Indian government opposed a petition to legalize same-sex marriage, arguing that the country was not yet ready for such a reform.
- Lack of access to legal remedies: In 2021, a same-sex couple in Maharashtra was harassed by police and their families, and forced to separate. This case illustrates the lack of access to legal remedies for discrimination faced by same-sex couples in India.
In addition to constitutionally recognizing same-sex marriage, India courts should also enact legal safeguards that would prohibit religious leaders from overturning the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals. Regardless of the outcome, the ongoing dialogue and engagement on this issue are essential to promote equality, respect, and dignity for all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.